Officials in Florida say that fires in electric cars caused by batteries that have corroded are a new problem for firefighters in areas where Hurricane Ian has caused damage.
Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal, posted photos of North Collier Fire Rescue’s response to an EV that had caught fire in the middle of a busy road on social media on Thursday.
“There’s a ton of EVs disabled from Ian. As those batteries corrode, fires start. That’s a new challenge that our firefighters haven’t faced before. At least on this kind of scale,” Patronis said.
Although no injuries were reported in connection with the event, first responders noted that these flames can be challenging to put out.
In a video, an official present can be heard saying, “So, we’ve already put on 1,500 gallons of water on this, and it is still going. This shows how dangerous these fires are.”
According to AutoInsuranceEZ’s investigation of car fires over the summer, hybrid vehicle fires are the most prevalent when compared to sales of gas and electric vehicles. In terms of fires per 100,000 sales, gas vehicles came in second, and electric vehicles finished in a distant third.
Despite having fewer fires than gas or hybrid cars, auto experts say lithium-ion batteries make electric car fires much more difficult to put out.
Per data from the U.S. Department of Energy, Florida has the second-highest registered electric vehicle number in the nation.
The Sunshine State had about 100,000 electric automobiles as of June.
Patronis didn’t say how many electric vehicles caught fire because of Ian’s crashes, but she did say that the staff knew how to put out the fires quickly and safely because they were trained and knew a lot about the vehicles.